Rich wrote this message along with some pages of Theo’s logbooks and more pictures.
Theo started his flying career in Americus Georgia.
This picture is most interesting.
The caption says 1947, but it’s in fact 1941.
This is the proof.
In World War I, an Army Air Service training facility, Souther Field (now Jimmy Carter Regional Airport), was commissioned northeast of the city limits.Charles A. Lindbergh, the “Lone Eagle,” bought his first airplane and made his first solo flight there during a two-week stay in May 1923. Recommissioned for World War II, Souther Field was used for RAF pilot training (1941–1942) as well as US pilot training before ending the war as a German prisoner-of-war camp. The town was incorporated in 1832, and the name Americus was picked out of a hat.
The rest of Rich’s message…
For some reason he had three logbooks, a Canadian Air Force logbook, the smaller what I take to be a trainee logbook issued at the flying school and a Royal Air Force flying log. Pete Smith seems to think it was probably due to conflict with a superior officer that made Theo copy all his records from his RCAF logbook to his RAF one, possibly at Little Snoring.
One of my favourite stories from Theo arose when we had a chat years ago about learning to fly. I was always keen to learn myself but talking to Theo I said my main fear was getting airborne and getting lost. Theo said most people actually did at some time in training and he in fact did get lost and landed in a field to try and get his bearings. Several black field hands rushed up to his aircraft offering assistance, when Theo asked if they knew where his airfield promptly moved his aircraft to face the position Theo needed to go, Theo took off and found his way home.
Fiction or not but a nice tale.
I discovered that the Arnold Scheme was a 3-phase flying training programme. Training took place in three separate flying stages Primary, Basic and Advanced, all within the huge area of SEACTC. The Southeast area stretching across the large US States of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Primary flying courses were undertaken over nine to ten weeks (60 hours) at civilian contract schools. Instructors were experienced American pilots equipped with Boeing ‘Stearman’ PT-17 biplanes. Primary flying courses were located at Camden in South Carolina; Albany & Americus in Georgia; Arcadia & Lakeland in Florida; and Tuscaloosa in Alabama. In May 1942, I joined Class 42J at the Americus Flying School in Georgia, flying the Stearman aircraft on which I ‘ground looped’ when flying solo. Being moved to an upper class I was given rank of cadet corporal.